Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Welcome to Canada

We’re all checked in to the hotel after an uneventful trip…unless you count making detours along I-75 between Detroit and Toledo where they are basically rebuilding the road from the ground up. As I remarked to my dad, I never thought I’d live long enough to see them build the road twice; I remember when it was built back in the late 1950’s and was called the Detroit-Toledo Expressway.

The Ambassador Bridge was almost empty of traffic and getting through Customs took all of fifteen seconds. We handed over the passports, the customs agent asked “Where are you from? Where are you going? When will you be back? Any goods? Have a nice time” and that was it. We stopped at a KFC (or PFK in French) for a biffy break and lunch, then proceeded on the 401 (also undergoing construction between Windsor and Chatham) to Ingersoll and then Stratford.

My brother gave my parents a Garmin navigation system for their anniversary, and I was recruited to teach them how to use it. It’s very simple, but the funny thing is that if you know the route better than the GPS, which also doesn’t take into account road closures, you can mess with the strangely disembodied voice coming out of it. “Take Exit 208 and turn left onto County Route 9.” No, that’s the long way around and I know that Exit 216 is faster, so I zoom by Exit 208. “Recalcuating….make an immediate U-turn.” To which I replied, “Bite me.” “Recalculating….” After a couple of miles, it figures out where I’m going.

The other thing is that the battery life in Garmin is about 2 to 3 hours, so about half-way through Ingersoll, Ontario, it whimpered and went black. There is a cable you can plug into the cigarette lighter, but it was wrapped up neatly in the box in the trunk. But I know this route like the back of my hand, so it was like going home again, and we arrived within moments of the time the Garmin said we would.

So here we are. Welcome to the country where same-sex marriage is legal, where they have universal health care, where they support the arts with more than just a pittance, and where the Conservative Party would fit right in with the DLC. I’m sure this country has its flaws, but I’m a guest and I’ll leave it to the citizens to point them out. All I can say is that I’m glad to be able to come here and enjoy a few days with these friendly and enlightened people.